By: Reina Werth

The University of Wisconsin-Madison chapter of the Clare Boothe Luce Center for Conservative Women hosted a talk on “Living after Surviving” by Amanda Collins Johnson Tuesday evening.

While attending the University of Nevada-Reno, Johnson – founder of Teaching and Empowering Assault Rape Survivors Speak – was raped at gunpoint by a stranger. Johnson spoke about her own healing process – how she went from just surviving the traumatic event to actually living again.

“I didn’t know him,” Johnson said. “But suddenly his face was so ingrained in my memory and I knew that I would never be able to pray it away… In that moment… my spiritual pulse flat lined. I survived, but it didn’t make me stronger… What good was surviving if I was no longer living?”

Johnson said her recovery can be attributed to her metaphorical backbone, wishbone, funny bone and rib cage.

Johnson’s “backbone” – which she defined as something that gets you out of bed in the morning, something larger than yourself – is her faith. Her “funny bone” – important because “a cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” – is her ability to take advantage of opportunities to laugh. Her “rib cage” – and what kept her alive, she said – is her support system.

While Johnson said she used her faith, the ability to take time to live and her support system to aid in her recovery, she was also concerned with the possibility of others having the same experience. This, she believes, could be prevented by allowing campus concealed carry.

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